Tennis is one the most demanding sports physically. A tennis professional has to go through marathon matches that may last for 4 or 5 hours in addition to a rigorous playing schedule during most of the season. Tennis players on an average travel for around 40 weeks during the year. All this means that minds are exhausted and bodies take a toll. Some tennis players are also unfortunate to face the external attacks which impact their careers. In this article we take a look at 3 female tennis stars whose career was most affected by injuries or attacks.
3. Maria Sharapova
The Russian starlet rose to fame when she defeated Serena Williams in the 2004 Wimbledon final. Sharapova only 17 then was hailed as a great tennis talent. Maria has largely lived to that expectation by becoming the World Number 1 and also winning 5 Grand Slam titles. Her career however could have been much more impressive had regular tryst with injuries not struck.
Maria’s first major injury was on her shoulder in 2006 after she won the US Open, This kept her out of the tour for few months as well as causing her exit from the top 5 of the World rankings. The injury would resurface in 2008 and forced Maria to finally consider the shoulder surgery in 2009. The surgery and rehab meant she would stay out of the game for most part of 2009 and 2010, her prime years.
In 2013 Maria would have her 3rd shoulder injury along and in subsequent year more injuries like forearm and ribs would also hurt her career. Maria suffered the worst phase of her career when she was handed a 24 months ban after failing the dope test. Her suspension was then reduced to 15 months and she returned in 2017. The year 2019 also was not smooth for Sharapova as she faced constant shoulder issues and now the Russian is eyeing a comeback in 2020.
2. Martina Hingis
Hingis achieved many milestones at the start of her career. She became the youngest ever Grand Slam winner and the youngest World Number 1. In 1997 at the age of 16 Hingis won 3 Grand Slams in the calendar year. However the signs of injuries showed in the early days of her career. In 1998, though she won the Australian Open Hingis could not do much in singles. However that year she won all 4 Slams in the double arena.
Hingis continued to perform well but the constant ankle issues were bothering her on court form also. Martina would finally have her ankle surgery which kept her briefly out of the game during 2001. In 2002 the ankle issue resurfaced. This finally made her to take a brief retirement from the game.
Hingis did return in 2005 but was never the same singles player again. As a result she concentrated more on doubles and mixed doubles. Hingis finished her career with 25 Grand Slam with 13 of them coming in doubles, 7 in mixed doubles and only 5 in singles. Constant injuries affected what could have been one of the best ever careers in the singles arena also.
1. Monica Seles
The Hamburg Open in 1993 changed a lot in the career of Monica Seles. She was stabbed by a self confessed Steffi Graf fan putting her career on a derail. Seles who turned pro in 1989 had a great stretch of 3 years between 1990 and 1992. During that period she reached 33 finals of the 34 tournaments she would contest and win 22 titles in them. This also included a tally of 8 Grand Slams. During these 3 years her Grand Slam win loss record was 55-1.
In Hamburg the stabbing incident kept Seles out of the game for about 28 months. She returned to the tour in August 1995 and won the Australian Open in 1996, which was regarded as a miracle comeback. Seles however would never be the same player again. Before the stabbing incident she had won 8 slams and after that she won only one more.
Seles played her last Grand Slam match in 2003 and finished her tennis career in 2008. Monica’s career never the less was nothing short of remarkable but it could have been far more extraordinary if that tragic day at Hamburg never came in her life.